Headlines: February 10th, 2011

Unnecessarily tight restrictions on emails are putting confidential data at risk and impacting public sector productivity, according to a study by Virgin Media Business. Outdated limits on email size are making it difficult for staff to send large file attachments.

Virgin Media Business’ study of mailbox limitations in the public sector found that 69 per cent of workers cannot send or receive emails larger than 10 MB in size, and 89 per cent are unable to send or receive emails in excess of 15 MB. The average worker can only send emails of up to 12.5 MB in size and has just 140 MB of space in their mailbox. These tight restrictions mean that workers frequently find that they are unable to share big PDF documents, slideshows, images and video content.

In most cases people will attempt to reduce the size of the files that they are sending or call for help, creating extra work for the IT department and limiting how much time they can spend on driving productivity. However, the real concern is that other workers are taking things into their own hands. We’re seeing a trend towards staff uploading files to file sharing sites or sending them via personal webmail accounts. Whilst this ‘make do and mend’ approach may seem to work, staff could be unwittingly placing sensitive information at risk.

Restrictions on email size were originally introduced to conserve bandwidth, but advances in networking and communications technology mean that such tight limitations are no longer necessary. And with workers increasingly needing to share multimedia files with colleagues and customers, these limitations are becoming a real headache.